Facing the grave reality of the Judgement, into which category of souls do you, dear reader, fall? Are you one of the good sheep, or do you belong to the flock of the rebellious goats?
Immense and verdant pastures teeming with flocks, some of sheep and lambs, others of goats and kids: such is the picturesque scene that often meets our eyes when we venture far from the big cities.
There is something special about these little animals, leading the Redeemer to mention them in His parables, intended for the instruction of humanity throughout history.
Sheep, known for their docility and obedience to the voice of their shepherd, were created by God as figures of just souls. In fact, just as these charming creatures are happiest when they are close to their guide and hear his commands – which guarantee their safety and nourishment – so the true children of light seek the salutary presence of the Lord, are nourished by His grace and joyfully submit to the teachings of Holy Church. They are never seized by the “wolves” of temptations, nor do they wander into the “dense forest” of mortal sins.
The goats, on the other hand, are of a different nature… Not very obedient, they amuse themselves by fleeing from their shepherds and straying into unknown places. Some of the mountain-dwelling species live in peril, climbing steep crags and leaping over vertiginous chasms! They are the symbol of sinful souls who constantly put their eternal salvation at risk by living in a lax and reckless manner amid the snares of the world, the flesh and the devil. They boast of absenting themselves from preaching, the Sacraments and the life of the Church – therefore, from the sweet care of Jesus, the Divine Shepherd.
The distinction made in the Gospel between the one type of animal and the other is not without reason: “When the Son of man comes in His glory, and all the Angels with Him, […] Before Him will be gathered all the nations, and He will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and He will place the sheep at His right hand, but the goats at the left” (Mt 25:31-33).
Faced with this grave reality, into which category of souls do you, dear reader, fall? Are you one of the good sheep, or do you belong to the flock of the rebellious goats?
If you are a “sheep-soul”, rejoice! Under the constant care and protection of the Saviour, your life will always be blessed: you will lack no good thing, and in the days of trial He Himself will be your guide. You are the true heir of the Lord’s promise: “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand” (Jn 10:28). In view of this, give thanks for such a gift and pray to be preserved in this good disposition.
However, if to your sadness and regret you find that you have placed yourself in the group of goats, today I have a message of confidence to convey to you.
Among the favours granted by Providence at the moment of our Baptism, none can compare to that of being children of Our Lady. She is Mother of Mercy for the children of the Church, whether they are righteous or wicked; and just as She sustains the former, She prays for the latter, drawing them to the paths of holiness.
Whoever wishes to abandon the path of evil should have recourse to the unfailing intercession of Mary, the most powerful Shepherdess of the elect. Her maternal care corrects any “mischief” and endows the sinner with the qualities of a sheep. With her help, anyone can easily pass from the left to the right of Jesus and, consequently, be saved on Judgement Day.
Whether we are among the “sheep” or the “goats”, let us lose no time: just as these two creatures, each in its own way, glorify the Creator by their existence, let us also praise Him who has redeemed us. May the perseverance of the faithful proclaim the power of divine grace, and may the miseries of the weak extol the omnipotent mercy of God and Mary! ◊